ADRIAN -- A small, green and yellow songbird with a distinct white ring around its eye has become an important part of Siena Heights University student Olivia Smith’s life.
Called the Saipan bridled white-eye, the native of the Mariana Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean is an endangered species thanks to the brown tree snake, introduced to Guam shortly after World War II. The bird no longer exists on Guam and is found only on three other Mariana islands.
Smith, a biology major at Siena, has been studying the bridled white-eye at the Toledo Zoo, where nine of the 24 members of the species in captivity live. The goal is to help the birds successfully reproduce and raise offspring in captivity, a safeguard in case the species goes extinct in the wild.
“What I’m focusing on is the captive (bird) conservation effort,” Smith said.